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Captain McCue, First For U.S. Women

Next month, Kate McCue will become Captain Kate McCue, the first U.S. woman to be the “master” of a major cruise ship. She’ll have climbed to the top of that “mountain” when Kate McCueshe guides the SummitCelebrity’s 14-year-old ship of the same name.

The 37-year-old McCue will not be the first female cruise-ship captain (Sweden’s Karin Stahre-Janson attained that distinction with Royal Caribbean), just the first American.

The question becomes: How will she be ultimately be remembered among the list of first by American women?

Will she be a Lydia Taft, the first woman to vote for her husband as President, or Hillary Clinton, who could be the first President? Blanche Scott, the first to fly a plane solo, or Sally Ride, the first astronaut? Janet Guthrie, first to drive in the Indianapolis 500, or Danica Patrick, first to lead the 500?

"Becoming the first female American captain of a cruise ship has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember,” she said.

Or at least 15 years, which is how long McCue has worked in the maritime industry, since Summitstarting as a cadet and deck officer. Even in the cruise industry, she is perhaps to become something of a footnote, a name on the list of firsts for the American woman.

There is no reason for a woman not to be at the helm of a ship, of course. What’s between the ears, plus years of experience, is how an individual qualifies for the prestigious position, and women can be as capable in both areas as any male captain.

Finally, for American women, another barrier falls.

In the news…

• Queen Mary 2 arrives in New York for 175th anniversary bash
• Norwegian introduces a la carte dining in ships' specialty restaurants
• Celebrity offers non-stop flights from Winnipeg to Miami in cruise packages

Today at portsandbows.com: Holland America cruises — Mexico and Hawaii

Norwegian Jewel
5 nights
September 29, 2015
Vancouver, Victoria, Astoria, Los Angeles
Inside: $279
Cost per day: $55
www.ncl.com

Mosquito Time…Repellant Time!

Today, we bring you a PSA. That’s Public Service Announcement, and it’s for the benefit of anybody who expects to encounter a mosquito this summer. 

So, pretty much everybody.

In Alaska, there are 13 species of mosquitoes. Clearly, Alaskans know something about dealing with them. To that end, today we are publishing a recipe for mosquito repellant, Sharon Soucycourtesy of Sharon Soucy, who’s not really from Alaska but who works in the Land of the Midnight Sun, where even the mosquitoes have less time to sleep during the long days.

Sharon works for the National Parks Service. She drives tourists around the park on the only tour buses allowed in the park, modified school buses painted mostly tan, and last week passengers from the Star Princess were on her bus. Sharon comes from Maine, where presumably she also encountered mosquitoes in summer, just not as often — and not as many — as in Alaska.

Oh yes, the recipe:

* Buy fractionated coconut oil at your local health food store
* Put six tablespoons in mason jar
* Add 10 drops on oil of peppermint and stir
* Pour liquid (it stays as liquid) in a spray bottle
* Apply has needed

Does it work?

“It does for me,” she laughs.

In the news…

• Carnival Magic moving to Port Canaveral four months earlier than planned

Today at portsandbows.com: New ships on the water from Fincantieri

Celebrity Summit
6 nights
October 18, 2015
Cape Liberty, N.J. (return): St. Maarten, Tortola, San Juan 
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $64
www.celebritycruises.com

Cruise To Nowhere Going Nowhere

Shame on us…

For years, anybody who knows anything about cruising was quickly “educated” about The Jones Act. In a nutshell, it’s a rule that forces all cruise ships originating in the U.S. to make at least one stop at an international port. It also forces cruise ships registered in America to employ only U.S. citizens (or residents with work visas), which is why Pride of Pride of AmericaAmerica is the only notable cruise ship registered in the U.S.

Shame on us…

For who-knows-how-many-years, “cruises to nowhere” have openly been promoted, sold and enjoyed — specifically but not exclusively by Carnival. They’re on cruise ships that leave a port, sail around in international waters for a day or three and return without making a port call. 

Shame on us…

This week, the U.S. Government ruled that as of 2016, cruise ships will no longer be allowed to do that. A spokesperson told Cruise Critic: “…it has been the longstanding position of CBP [Customs and Border Protection] that D-1 visa holders are not eligible to serve as crew members on cruises to nowhere” and “a D-1 visa holder is eligible to serve as a crew member on a vessel only if the crew member 'intends to land [in the United States] temporarily and solely in the pursuit of his calling as a crewman and to depart from the United States with the vessel.”

Shame on us…

For not being able to understand that gobblydegook, which effectively means all cruise ships would have to employ only U.S. workers on these “cruises to nowhere.” You can argue the merits or demerits of this 80-year-old legislation all you want, but the bottom line is that smarter minds than ours — they are countless — knew that The Jones Act meant cruise ships leaving the U.S. had to make one international port call (aka, Ensenada, Victoria, Vancouver).

Shame…

On the other hand, how long did it take the U.S. Government to figure it out?

In the news…

• AIDA Carnival's choice for first two new mega ships in 2019
• Holland America Noordam rescue ship for disabled sightseeing boat
• Royal Caribbean appoints president for China & North Asia region

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival to have world's biggest ships

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
October 24, 2015
San Juan (return): Tortola, Fort-de-France, Roseau, St. Kitts, St. Thomas
Inside: $529
Cost per day: $75
www.celebritycruises.com

The Nature Of…Nude Cruising

When the subject of nude cruises is raised, as it has been a couple of times before this at cruisingdoneright.com, there’s a natural tendency to get cute with phraseology and double-entendres.

You know…there’s nothing to sea…turn the other cheek to a rude nude…buff in a boat…nakationing…sunscreen mandatory, clothing optional…

As people who take them will readily say, their cruises are not going away. They’re Nude cruisegrowing. They used to be categorized as one-off theme cruises that occupied part of a cruise ship. Not any more.

In November, a “Bliss Cruise” will occupy the Celebrity Silhouette, a Solstice Class ship that carries 2,886 passengers. On this cruise, all but 2,886 of them will be wearing clothes. The whole ship has been booked and the cruise is 80 per cent sold, six months in advance, through Bliss Management in Florida.

Next February, “The Big Nude Boat” cruise will be on the Celebrity Constellation, which carries 2,170 passengers. It’s an annual event booked by Bare Necessities in Texas, a company currently offering six nude cruises on a variety of ships, including the Carnival Miracle.

Perhaps the most astounding statistic in this phenomenon is that 70 per cent of nude cruisers come back for another cruise, compared to 62 per cent of cruisers wearing more than sunscreen, and that in 23 years the seas have gone from hosting one nude cruise to 45.

The best one-liner came from Orlando Sun Sentinel writer Arlene Satchell:

“Well, this certainly makes packing easier.”

In the news…

• Next Princess ship (2017) to be based in China year-round
• Windstar christens Star Breeze, second of three all-suite power yachts
• 113,000 sign petition opposing dredging Venice lagoon
• Explorer of the Seas in Australia after multi-million-dollar makeover

Today at portsandbows.com: Up to 50% savings on Princess deals

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
June 14, 2015
Bayonne (return): King’s Wharf
Inside: $569
Cost per day: $81
www.celebritycruises.com

Princess To Name Its Top Entertainer

Without much fanfare and no politicking, voters are casting ballots this week for one of four candidates.

This is “Election Week” on the Crown Princess, where passengers will be selecting the cruise line’s annual Entertainer of the Year. There are four finalists: two comedians (Ben Seidman, Steve Caouette), one singer (Lovena Fox) and one violinist/entertainer

Entertainer of Year

(Christopher Watkins). All will be performing on the Crown Princess this week to win the audience’s affection, along with their votes.

The ship is presently at sea off the coast of Mexico, and it will be closing in on its return to Los Angeles when the winner is announced tomorrow night, the final night of the cruise.

It’s the fourth year for the awards and obviously it’s popular. When the Crown Princess had its lines pulled in at the dock in L.A., there wasn’t an empty bed on board. All room categories were sold out.

Zach WillinghamLast year’s winner (for 2013) was a singer, or vocalist as Princess calls it, Zach Winningham (right). Two years ago, the last time the Entertainer of the Year was crowned on the Crown Princess, we were among the people who watched another singer — Tony Tillman — win over two comedians and a mentalist for the 2012 title. The inaugural award was a comedian, Carlos Oscar.

It’s a fun event because the passengers are involved. It’s also rewarding for the finalists, who in the preceding year have been performing on Princess ships, which is how they become finalists. The winner goes home with $5,000 he or she didn’t have when the cruise departed.

Also a title they hope can be parlayed into more fame and more fortune.

Today at portsandbows.com: Cruising in Crystal's world

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
November 7, 2015
San Juan (return): Tortola, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Thomas
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $64
www.celebritycruises.com

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